This information was is from a post by John Mueller from Skyshine Games explaining the origins of Bedlam, the game.


Hey, John Mueller here!

As you can probably tell by what you’ve seen of the game so far, BEDLAM is the result of a lot of different influences. But before I get into specifics, it might be a good idea to offer some insight to its history.

My experience has been as an Art Director and artist in AAA games for the majority of my career, working for companies like THQ, NCSoft and Epic Games -- basically, I've been trying to make cool stuff in video games since 1995.

My main goal with BEDLAM started as a simple idea: to go BACK to the beginning, to the origins of the science-fiction I experienced in my youth. To try and present a world not with polygons and supercomputing technology, but with pure art and imagination.

So where did this whole concept originally come from?

The essence of BEDLAM first exploded into existence way back in the 1980s, when myself and a group of teenage friends gathered weekly to play Dungeons & Dragons (nerds!). Slaying dragons and seeking treasure provided hours of fantasy entertainment… but we also quickly became obsessed with JUDGE DREDD comics and HEAVY METAL magazines, and movies like THE TERMINATOR, BLADE RUNNER, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK and the MAD MAX films.

Bedlam origins article

Suddenly our impressionable minds were sparked by alternative worlds, and traveling around a magical realm just didn’t seem quite that exciting. So we decided to modify the D&D game rules, and transformed the setting into a sci-fi environment that was more interesting to us! Crossbows and goblins became plasma rifles and mutants, and our sandbox was rebuilt as a massive futuristic city surrounded by a sprawling post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Since that time, I’ve worked in comics and video games on cool material like SWAMP THING, THE CROW, HEAVY METAL, WARHAMMER 40K, UNREAL TOURNAMENT and DARKSIDERS. But there was always an underlying urge to create something that went back to that pure unadulterated fun we had collecting awesome high-tech gear, accepting mega-corporation bounty jobs, or wandering the wastelands searching for ancient weapon caches.

I have made other attempts over the years to realize that world in a new form, including an ambitious (overly so, back in 2001) MMORPG project that would have players engaged in deadly corporate warfare in and around Bysantine, and a graphic novel about a girl and her robot roaming the toxic dunes of Bedlam... but they never quite came together for various reasons.

Concept art origins article

Concept Art from previous Bedlam themed projects

But I am determined to make BEDLAM a reality! Luckily my old friends Sam Gage and Jeff Johnson joined me on this crazy train (or Dozer, as it turned out), bringing their wealth of creative design and gameplay expertise to this project, while writer Dave Davis (an occasional collaborator who also sat with me at the table rolling 20-sided dice almost thirty years ago!) will help to shape our mythology.

BEDLAM has continuously evolved beyond that pen-and-paper game I used to play – after all, I've been exposed to countless other movies, comics, games and life experiences since those days. But it still has its roots in old-school role-playing games. When Skyshine formed, we actually started by creating a tabletop version with physical pieces and dice, which helped inform our combat and determined a lot of the concepts in our "blitz battle system"!

Origins article pic

After that, it was a matter of how we wanted to visually present our ideas. And of course, THE BANNER SAGA gave us a perfect starting point! But besides switching to our groovy post-apocalyptic setting, we’re also taking Stoic’s excellent game engine and implementing elements from other games we love such as FTL, XCOM and FALLOUT.

Comic artists like Moebius and Geof Darrow (HARD BOILED) were the primary inspirations for the aesthetic, mixed with a general 80s-movie vibe and a gritty yet tongue-in-cheek tone -- think BORDERLANDS or FAR CRY: BLOOD DRAGON, with a dash of Looney Toons classics. Without swinging too broad (we hope!), we’ll still allow for plenty of levity and exaggerated antics.

Early concept art

Early style test

Our imaginations are fully energized, and our ultimate objective above all else is to deliver a game that is interesting and fun -- a mind-blowing, mega-cool entertainment experience!

This zany post-apocalyptic world represents the most precious gaming experience of my life... and now I'm getting the opportunity to build the fantasy world of my teenage years, before I was an artist, or a professional game developer, or an Art Director. BEDLAM is very special for me, and I know it will be for you when it’s complete!

Thank you for your support!

- John Mueller, Art Guy

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